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Afghan Sikh Minority Urges Inclusion in Peace Talks

(Last Updated On: March 8, 2019)

As the U.S. has been in peace negotiations with the Taliban to reach into a political settlement in Afghanistan, Afghan tiny Hindu and Sikh minority has urged inclusion in the peace process.

Expressing concerns of not being part of the peace talks with the Taliban, the representatives of Afghan Sikh and Hindu community said that they don’t want to face re-imposition of the Taliban’s strict religious rules after a possible agreement with the armed group.

“We want a lasting peace in the country, not a temporary one; during the Taliban regime, there were a lot of strict rules while practicing our religious beliefs,” said Singh Khalsa, President Ghani’s advisor on Hindu and Sikh affairs.

He said religious discrimination against Hindu and Sikh minority in Afghanistan should end.

Referring to the ongoing peace talks, Khalsa said the government has not consulted with them in this regard yet and that as Afghans they have the right to be consulted.

He said they were expecting a meeting with the High Peace Council regarding the peace process.

Habiba Sarabi, Deputy Head High Peace Council (HPC), however, said that the inclusion of ethnic minorities in the peace process has been one of the fundamental issues and that they are trying to pay heed to their demands. 

It comes as U.S. and Taliban representatives are holding peace talks in Qatar aimed at ending the nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan.

The withdrawal of American troops and preventing Afghanistan being used against the United States and its allies are the two main topics as the two sides discussing on before reaching into a final agreement.

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